Podcasts have grown staggeringly in recent years, in America alone, listening figures have grown by double over the past 7 years. They are an example of the convergence of audio/radio, online and even video/television in some cases. Some of the earliest podcasts to gain mass British attention were archive recordings of radio shows – such as Chris Moyles’ Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 1 – which allowed listeners to listen to the entire show without the music, this put a focus on making the radio hosting much more entertaining and suitable for long form consumption.
These days, looking at the current iTunes chart, audio versions of TV shows are starting to gain in popularity with shows like ‘Alan Davies’ As Yet Untitled’ and TEDtalks sitting comfortably in the top 10. This is interesting as it shows audiences are prepared to sacrifice the visual element of programmes in order to still be able to listen to the substance of the show.
Another ‘genre’ of podcast that often get overlooked are live streamed and video versions of shows. These can range from 4 friends who Skype each other and record their webcams to more traditional ‘panel-show’ setups that are visually more professional. In terms of audiences this implies that there is a market for these media formats that mesh together and it shows how various sectors of the media industry – whether they are independent or produced by organisations – are exploring every sub-genre of podcasts that they can as the medium and viewing figures grow.